Aman Maharaj was born in South Africa. His family left South Africa and relocated to Canada during his childhood. Aman has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Western Ontario, a Master’s Degree and MBA in Finance from York University in Toronto, and a law degree from Queen’s University at Kingston. He worked in several corporate positions early in his career but soon discovered that his drive and passion would be better used in entrepreneurial leadership.
Why did you decide to create your own business?
I was recently the President of a company in the engineering space that was sold in late 2019. This gave me the opportunity to take on the leadership of a conglomerate of companies that together allows people to get benefits by using the professional services or purchasing products of these various companies. The companies include insurance, mortgage services, real estate brokers, and awards for cash or products. For example, if you use one service, you get part of the other and you get discounts basically all around. It’s a full gambit of companies hooked together to provide discounts and awards to customers that make use of their services or purchase their products.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
In the last several years of my career, I have chosen entrepreneurial positions because I love challenges. I like startups. I like the idea of taking business and growing it. With my current company, I was chosen to be the CEO out of 40 potential candidates. My company has a huge potential, not just in one business, but in multiple businesses that can all grow together. I find that it is really exciting, challenging, and a huge opportunity. It will also be a windfall for the customers of these companies.
What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?
Follow what you want to do. Find what you are passionate about and then really focus on that and the jobs will come. It is easy to see when someone is passionate about something. Find what you really believe in and then really push yourself into that area and push hard.
There will be some people that will be just saying something to get a job versus the ones that really have a passion for building something. Some people just want to collect a paycheck, but entrepreneurial leaders really want to create something.
What keeps you motivated?
I love challenges and love growth. When a company is growing and I can look at the different roadblocks and figure out how to get around and then make the company viable, sustainable, and potentially something big, that really motivates me.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned managing your business/team?
Always get back up. If you quit, you can only blame yourself. There will be letdowns, but there will be successes. Always get back up and go back. Keep moving and pushing forward.
How has your company grown from its early days to now?
My current company and the previous two companies I have been a part of have all been entrepreneurial. They have all had the exact same challenges of finding a niche, growing the business, finding the right people to be part of the group, exploring the marketplace, adding key partners, adding key suppliers, becoming a bigger presence. The previous two companies sold products, but with my current company, we will have a much larger focus on growth via professional services. There is a mindset difference, but the concepts are not that different.
Since I’ve come on board as the CEO and becoming the first employee, we have now grown to 14 employees and I am building different levels. We are still interviewing and still adding on people in different capacities. We’ve gone from very small, two founders, to 14 employees, and we continue to grow.
If you could change 1 thing you did in the beginning of your career what would it be?
I would have avoided the corporate road and gone into entrepreneurial opportunities when I knew that was what I wanted. I took what seemed like the “safe route” at the time, but it did not stimulate me or challenge me, and I did not see a future for myself. If I could change one thing, starting in my career path I would have focused on the entrepreneurial side of life rather than the big corporate machine with its bureaucracy and waiting for so many decisions to be made up and down the ladder.
I held corporate positions for about 10 years, but finally, I realized this is not for me. For the last 10 to 12 years all of the opportunities I have taken have been entrepreneurial where I could work within a company that endeavored to be nimble, agile and make decisions that could move the company forward. The difference between the corporate world and the entrepreneurial world pushed me towards what I should have been going towards the whole time.
I do not make knee jerk reactions by any means. But I don’t need full disclosure on every single thing possible so that there is no risk. There is some risk. I can make decisions fairly quickly, but it is based on substantive information that I can share and say that this is why we decided to go this way. Entrepreneurs are willing to make challenging decisions and take some risks.
What trends in your industry excite you?
What really excites me in the entrepreneurial world is that people will prove value propositions and are less so brand loyal, so an entrepreneur that can bring something to the table that is exciting and offers something for the consumer and end-user, whether it be business to business or business to consumer, has the opportunity to really showcase themselves. Everything that I’ve done in the last few companies I have worked for has been against “big guys” and has succeeded against the “big guys” because we bring more to the table than just a name.
Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
We are, at a minimum, going to be a national level company. We are going to have businesses throughout Canada and the United States. We will be a major player in the marketplace that is looking for businesses that offer great value. Five years from now I see us being a household name.
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